Thinking About Building a Geodesic Dome? Do this First…
Thinking about building a geodesic dome home? Geodesic Domes have been sprouting up all over the planet since the 1960’s. It goes without saying, that dome architecture is being embraced by more and more people as we continue to evolve eco-friendly space-age materials – as well as, desirable manufacturing and building methods i.e. green-building construction.
Construction of a 36ft. dome
Due to their superior structural strength, energy efficiency and significant cost-savings, dome-like structures hold great promise for the future of architecture on our home planet and beyond. The modern-day Geodesic Dome template is attributed to the visionary genius and efforts of the late R. Buckminster Fuller – ‘Bucky’, whose life’s mission was to create shelter that works for everyone on Spaceship Earth – in any climate or region of the world.
Opting for Prefab or Stick-Built?
Assuming that you’re already a fan of geodesic architecture and have been thinking about building a geodesic dome home, you may have run across the question, “Do I build a custom dome home from the ground up or do I purchase a prefab dome home kit?” The aim of this blog is to weigh in on a few pros and cons of custom dome home construction vs. building with a prefab dome kit – so, you can make an informed decision. Let’s break this down and take a closer look at what the building process might look like for both a prefab-build and stick-built dome.
Realistically, whether you are acting as owner-builder or hiring a contractor, building a custom geodesic dome home from the ground up can be a time-consuming and complicated process. If you are hiring a contractor, you may want to think twice before running the risk of working with someone who has never built a custom stick-built geodesic dome home from the ground-up! Here’s why –Featured Answer posted on Houzz in response to a person thinking about building a geodesic dome home.
Onward and Upward!
Done right, in an aesthetically appealing way, dome homes blend in with their natural surroundings and offer many features, benefits and uses! Dome-like structures blend well in less densely populated neighborhoods, nestled among hillside slopes and surrounded by trees and Nature’s landscaping. In recent years, they have gained notoriety with the Airbnb Hospitality Glamping Industry.
Living close to Nature in a Dome Home
As you embark on your dream, the first thing to bear in mind is that domes are considered non-traditional structures for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with their beauty and functionality. An example of this would be Tiny Home Building. That said, you wouldn’t necessarily want to build your dome in a conventional housing neighborhood.
Next, be aware that much depends on your location and the likelihood of addressing questions around the permit-approval process. And lastly, take into account any unforseens – which, according to Murphy’s Law, is an inevitable part of any project; by no means, insurmountable when met with an empowered, resilient attitude.
An optimistic mind-set goes a long way towards realizing your goal. If you can visualize your end result along each step of the journey, you’re more likely to meet each challenge with an enthusiastic spirit.
This brings us to the next question, “Where do I go from here?” If you are at a loss as to where to begin, allow us to take you on the journey towards understanding the construction process and steps along the way. Preliminary steps don’t always happen in the order that they’re listed – it’s more about creating a roadmap that leads to a workable plan of action.
Step #1 Find your Ideal Building Site
If you already have a building site, then you’re that much further ahead. If you’re in the process of selecting a building site, you likely have a pretty good idea of what you are looking for when thinking about building a geodesic dome home.
Enlisting the help of a real estate professional who is familiar with the locale and its zoning and building limitations can help steer you clear of any pitfalls, saving you money in the long run. Agents are more likely to know about lots that may be grandfathered under more tolerant zoning. It’s also helpful to have someone who you can bounce pros and cons with.
Once you’ve found your ideal property, you will want to make a quick sketch to locate the driveway entrance, utilities, yard space and building site. This might be a good time to consider views and future views. What about sun and wind exposure?
Locating where utilities come into the property is a key element in visualizing where your building site will sit. Where are the set-backs or easements? How about a well or septic? You might find this Guide to Permitting Your Dome Home useful.
Step #2 Pay Cash or Secure Financing?
Purchasing the land is a step that can take months depending on whether you are prepared to pay cash or are looking to finance your property and its construction as a bundle. At this stage, you might find the Guide to Purchasing and Building Your DIY Dome, helpful.
Begin early to create a flexible building cost spreadsheet – a ‘rough draft’ that will allow plenty of room for future expenses, as well as, unexpected expenses. You might find a sample online spreadsheet to get started. Keep it simple to begin with – you can grow your list as you progress further along in the process.
Step #3 Plan and Design Your Dome Home
This is where you make your final decision on which way to go. If you haven’t already made up your mind on whether to build with a prefab dome kit or whether to design a custom dome from the ground-up, you may want to consider first, building with a prefab dome kit by Pacific Domes – then, retrofitting your dome or opting for a site-built custom dome at some point in the future.
Gothic Style Dome